BY SOFIA MENDEZ
The process to apply successfully to a university may be perceived as a long and complex process. However, with the correct guidance, this can be the opposite. By following some basic guidelines, it is possible to achieve and obtain a spot in the college or university of your choice.
First and foremost, keep in mind how each university and college has its own set of admission requirements, but the college application process is usually pretty standard at most schools. In addition, a very important factor to remember is how there is a deadline to apply for college, so it is highly recommended to start application materials as early as possible, as the process begins in the fall of senior year. Deadlines can fall between the beginning or end of November and the beginning of January, so give yourself enough time to complete everything on the application.
Materials you’ve probably heard of– such as required tests and specific grades, letters of recommendation, the personal essay, financial aid and scholarship applications and some other additional information– are often asked for in college applications. Although this all may seem very complicated and confusing at first, this will specifically breakdown the coverage of what the process of applying to college is like.
When it comes to selecting schools, some people may already have envisioned one school where they are sure they would want to study at; however, everyone should still apply to other schools that are good options as well. In some cases, people’s “first choice” schools may or may not accept them. It is crucial to have at least two to four backup “safety” school choices because admissions are competitive and there are numerous students applying to the same school from all over the state, country and even the world.
“Start your senior year by finalizing your college list.”CCHS Broward Advisors for Continuing Education (BRACE) Advisor Christine Siwek
“Start your senior year by finalizing your college list. Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, visit prospective colleges (virtually) and get a feel for the campuses,” CCHS Broward Advisors for Continuing Education (BRACE) Advisor Christine Siwek said. “Do your research and understand admission mid-ranges to potentially be accepted as well as know what costs to expect, programs offered, etc.”
Students have several options regarding college application formats. A popular platform known as The Common App is an undergraduate college admissions application where there are over 900 colleges from around the nation to choose from and apply to. In addition, there is a newer platform called The Coalition App that is accepted by more than 150 schools, as well as each universities’ specific applications. Students can visit a college’s website to determine which application platforms are accepted as some universities have their own way to apply.
The fundamental components of a college application include the following: personal information, high school transcripts, standardized test scores, activities list and letters of recommendation. The first part of the application is where students include their basic information like their age, address, family background, citizenship and more.
After that, high school transcripts must be submitted by your counselor, as these documents are official records of the courses students take and the grade they’ve earned. Next, send in your standardized test scores– SAT, ACT, SAT subjects tests, Advanced Placement (AP) exams and others– if the college requires or accepts them. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are implementing test-optional policies, so make sure to check the university websites for specific details.
Lastly, schools may need you to fill in a list of activities such as clubs, extracurriculars and awards that you’ve earned. Also, some schools may ask you to write a personal essay answering one of either The Common App, The Coalition App or the institution’s own question.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are implementing test-optional policies, so make sure to check the university websites for specific details.
In some cases, universities may ask you to submit letters of recommendation, or pages that are composed by teachers and are sent directly to the admission office of the school you are applying to. These are meant to provide more information on the kind of student you are directly from your teachers or other figures (like coaches or club sponsors). Make sure to choose your recommenders wisely, as they should know you well and be able to speak highly of you. Ask them for a recommendation well in advance of your college deadlines, as well.
Scholarships play a huge role because they are an aid to reduce tuition costs. Each college tuition is different, but they can be costly for many students.
“By completing your FFAA (Florida Financial Aid Application) you can be considered for any Florida Financial Aid, including Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Application,” Siwek said. “Complete your FAFSA (Free Application of Federal Student Aid) so you can get the most possible financial assistance for college and remember to continue to hunt and apply for scholarships.”
Knowing the right way of doing the college application is important because it is the first thing admission offices will read about you and this serves to form their first impression.
Photo by The Lariat Photography